Estate Planning terms A-B

401(k) Plan: An employer-sponsored retirement savings plan where amounts contributed by participants remain exempt from tax until withdrawn. Generally funded entirely or in part by salary reductions elected by employees and is subject to an annual limit. Usually allows a beneficiary to be designated and pass to the beneficiary outside of probate.

403(b) Plan: Similar to a 401(k) Plan, a retirement plan available to employees of public schools, certain nonprofit organizations, cooperative hospital organizations, and self employed ministers of the US, where contributions remain exempt from tax until withdrawn. Usually allows a beneficiary to be designated and pass outside of probate.

Beneficiary: A person, institution, trustee or estate that receives, or may become eligible to receive, benefits under a will, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, trust, or other contract.

Bypass Trust: An estate planning device (a.k.a. credit shelter trust, family trust, or B trust in "AB" plans where the A trust funds for the marital deduction) that minimizes the combined estate taxes payable by spouses. At the death of the first spouse, the estate is divided into two parts. One part is placed in trust to benefit the surviving spouse without being taxed at the surviving spouse's death. The other part passes outright to the surviving spouse or is placed in a marital deduction trust. The maximum amount that can be transferred estate tax-free varies according to estate tax exemption amount in effect.
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